Monday, March 02, 2015


Objects oil on linen 85 x 147 cm
Why did I call this new painting... simply... Objects?
Well, it's not really that simple! The title belies the possibilities.
Regular readers know that I like to 'play' with perspective, orientation and distance. I find a kind of compelling enjoyment in creating images that are somewhat ambiguous. I believe it makes people think, step outside their comfort zones, become more playful...wonder.
So, let's discuss Objects
Given that I have a great interest in Space...of the outer Space could think that the round balls are planets. With a cosmological view/perspective, the balls become almost endless in their possibilities. Well, that's what I think anyway!
What could they be?
They could be Universes...there is a tantalising theory that we exist not in one Universe, but in a Multiverse. I first read about the theory in Lord Martin Rees's wonderful book Just Six Numbers. I have since read a lot more about the various theories of a Multiverse and my thoughts appear in my paintings!
And, talking about 'thoughts'...the round balls could be just that...thoughts.
They could also be atomic or even subatomic entities existing in their own smaller-than-small 'environments'.  
They could be bits of cosmic dust, balloons, bubbles, endless full-stops! We could be looking through them or from behind, or from above or below...maybe all perspectives at once?
They could symbolise a plethora of things...philosophies, eons, the juggle of life.
And, of course the painting itself is a object...that has relational capacities not only with its external environment of other things, including us, but with its own plethora of possible visual depictions.
This brings me to OOO - Object Oriented Ontology, a new 21st century theory of things...a theory that everything is an object and that existence [the ontology bit] is about how things relate to things . Yes, we are a thing too, so not elevated to a significant otherness, but well and truly within the reality of thing-ness. Here's some extra reading for you Dr Ian Bogost's What Is Object Oriented Ontology: A Definition For Ordinary Folks and Dr Graham Harman's OOO blog Object Oriented Philosophy. Dr Harman is considered a founder of the philosophy.
Pale Blue Dot [After Carl Sagan] Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2014
Late last year I made a presentation at a OOO symposium called Seeing Things at the Queensland University of Technology. My presentation was called Cosmic Perspectives and I suggested that there is a fascinating correlation with the arrival of OOO and a rise in awareness and study of existential risks. I suggested that as existence is perceived to be more vulnerable to massive degradation or complete annihilation we have a need, albeit probably subconsciously driven, to restore reality from post-modern slipperiness to...well...realness. For example classing climate change as a thing/object, that embraces many other things/objects within its ambit, subtly shifts it from a kind of nebulousness to a more specific or 'concrete' state of object-hood. And, thus it seems easier to actually do something about a thing or an object! Think about the increasing number of articles written about possible doomsday outcomes of artificial intelligence, robots etc...from taking human jobs to deciding that we are not necessary! Many articles [you can Google] have been written about the loss of jobs; from doctors, lawyers, drivers to accountants and more. Yes, white collar, professional and blue collar. There's something very real about losing your job...and there's enormous anxiousness about mass career/job destruction.
Reality can be a sledge hammer! But, maybe we need the 'wakeup call'?
Now there's a thought...maybe the balls are dreams......?
After The Implosion  Some reflections upon Post-Modernism.

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